George Takei recently argued that Republicans are “scapegoating” the LGBTQ+ community and recalled his experience being scapegoated as a member of the Japanese American community during World War II.
Key details: Takei, 86, wrote about the issue for a The Big Picture op-ed published on Substack on Aug. 17 with the title “The Ugly Danger of Scapegoating.”
Remembering the past: In the post, the “Star Trek” star recalled how he and his family were relocated to a racetrack in Santa Anita, California, when he was 5 years old. There, they lived in a horse stable for months before being transferred to a Japanese internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas. The string of events occurred as a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II.
Someone to blame: Takei noted that he and around 125,000 other people of Japanese descent were sent to those camps because “America needed someone to blame,” making them a scapegoat.
Takei then wrote that over 80 years later, he is once again witnessing scapegoating, but this time, it involves another community he is part of: the LGBTQ+ community.
Calling them out: Takei called out politicians such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed into law a ban on gender-affirming medical care, such as hormone therapy, for minors in the state earlier this year.
“Enter the scapegoating. Armed with dangerous tropes from over 50 years ago, where gay and trans people are labeled as ‘groomers’ who are a danger to children, wily politicians such as Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida began a campaign to drive us out, to erase our families and identities in education, in library books, and in our own communities. They even targeted retail stores that supported us during our month of Pride.”
A dark reminder: Takei stated that he is “alarmed that the fearmongering and hate” against communities such as the transgender community are “just the beginning.”
“I have seen where scapegoating, if left unchallenged, leads. And it is a very dark place, indeed,” he wrote.
Actions to take: Takei ended his post by stating that “we must do more than call the scapegoating out.”
“We must provide safe harbor for communities affected, and we must demand coordinated, federal-level responses that deter and prevent such abuses in the first place. All of us have a role to play to ensure what happened before in America does not ever happen again. In 2024 we, and our allies, must vote as if our lives depended on it — because they do.”